Tyler Clementi, a gay Rutgers University freshman jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge in 2010. Halyee Fentress and Paige Maravetz, two lesbian 14-year old girls, took their lives in sleepover suicide pact in Minnesota a year later. Eric James Borges, a gay filmmaker in California, killed himself last month. It seems as if GLBT suicide is epidemic. Even one premature teen death is not only poignant, but shocking.
While many GLBT teens are well-adjusted, we know from statistics, provided from the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State, that 25 to 40% of young lesbians and gays have attempted suicide. They are more likely than straight teens to think about(suicide “ideation”).
How do you as a parent know if your child is chronically depressed? All teens are moody and want to be independent. Who knew that ironically Borges would kill himself just weeks after posting an “It Gets Better” video to empower GLBT youth?
When is your GLBT teen’s moodiness no longer considered a “phase?” Teens who are withdrawn, isolated, as many GLBT teens are, are more vulnerable to targets of victimization such as bullying and homophobia. Just last week, a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that the biggest deterrents to suicide are feeling loved and supported.
To learn more about the warning signs of suicide and how to get help for your family and friends, refer to Ellen Friedrichs GLBT Teens Guidehttp://gayteens.about.com/od.informationforparent1/a/Gay-Teen-Suicide-Warning-Signs.htm
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.
I pity those teens that use suicide as an escape rope for their problems. I know that many GLBT teens are not accepted by other people and worse even in their own house. They want to become who they think they are and want to develop their own identity and if others can’t accept it they will really feel pressured and sad that can lead to depression and he thought of suicide to escape from everything that doesn’t make them feel happy.
Many thanks, Jane, for your commentary. Suicide is bad enough, but the figures are staggering for GLBT teens who ATTEMPT suicide. When not accepted at home, many GLBT kids take to the streets (the so-called "throwaways" who comprise about 40% of the homeless runaway youth.) To combat suicide and depression, GLBT kids need non-conditional love, acceptance, and ongoing dialogues with their parents.